Baseball: Northwestern drops two of three to Michigan State


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Shawn Goosenberg stands at the plate. The freshman scored the winning run in NU’s 3-2 win over Michigan State this weekend.

Greg Svirnovskiy, Reporter


Even as a freshman, second baseman Shawn Goosenberg has become an integral part of the Northwestern lineup.

Over the past month or so, he’s established himself as the Wildcats’ three-hitter and has often served as a catalyst for offense. He was impressive Friday with a 3-for-3 day at the plate with a walk and a run scored.

But even when the production is not at the level he wants, he still finds a way to be a productive player. In the second half of Saturday’s doubleheader, after going 0-for-4 in his first four at-bats, he roped a double in the 10th inning and later scored the game-winning run for NU.

“Every time I get up there I think I’m gonna get a hit,” Goosenberg said. “I’m a little disappointed when I don’t.”

Despite his offensive performance this weekend, Goosenberg wasn’t satisfied when the Cats (18-22, 6-9 Big Ten) dropped two of three games against Michigan State (14-28, 3-11) allowing eight runs in each loss and being outscored 18-8 in the series.

On Friday, even as Goosenberg reached base in every at bat, NU was bested 8-3 and outhit by seven. After cutting an early deficit to two runs, the Cats allowed a combined four runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

Sophomore pitcher Quinn Lavelle allowed two runs through 4.1 innings. Goosenberg said it was important for the starting pitcher to stretch his outing to keep the bullpen fresh for the rest of the series.

“You never want to use your bullpen in the first few innings,” Goosenberg said. “Especially on Friday, you never wanna use all of your bullpen guys. Quinn battles for us every Friday. He’ll give us the innings we ask him to.”

Impending snow pushed the game scheduled for April 28 to the back half of Saturday for a doubleheader. In the day’s first matchup, NU lost 8-2, as the Spartans scored six straight runs to win the game after the Cats tied it up in the fourth inning. Michigan State recorded 15 hits, while NU had only five.

With only one game left in the series, and one final chance to shift the narrative, NU played its best game of the weekend. Sophomore pitcher Ryan Bader tossed a career-high six innings, surrendering just two runs, and the bullpen of junior Nick Paciorek, junior Josh Levy and sophomore Jack Pagliarini delivered two shutout innings as the Cats put on the defensive clinic missing in the first two games.

Goosenberg recorded a double at the beginning of the inning and was driven home on a David Dunn’s sacrifice fly, giving NU a 3-2 lead which it nursed to a victory.

“To come up there and get a dub was good,” coach Spencer Allen said. “Ryan Bader was really really good for us right there. He came back, had a chance to get us to the bullpen. Paciorek, Josh Levy and Jack Pagliarini coming in and getting us the last outs there was good to see.”

Still, NU has lost eight of its last ten games, a stretch which has dropped the Cats to four games below .500. NU’s series loss against MSU was its third straight in Big Ten play.

Allen said he hopes the series finale win will serve as a catalyst for a winning streak, as the Cats head into the final stretch of the season.

“At this point in the season, it’s kind of do or die, so we have to play our best baseball,” Allen said. “Sometimes getting a grind-it-out win is what you need and can get you going forward. We could use that for sure.”

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Twitter: @GSvirnovskiy

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